| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Pinterest RSS Feed

Development News

1922 Articles | Page: | Show All

Daisy Mae's expands reach with delivery service throughout center city

In an attempt to bring more fresh produce, and expand Findlay Market's reach, Daisy Mae's Market is now delivering throughout much of Cincinnati's center city.

The new business endeavor first started a couple of months ago with their Healthy Breaks program that delivers 30 servings of seasonal fruit to offices in the downtown area for just $20.  But as the program settled in, owners at Daisy Mae's realized that the demand was a bit greater than they originally thought.

"We make a few of the Healthy Breaks deliveries each week, but we learned that many of those customers thought it would be nice to be able to order produce and take it home with them," explained Barb Cooper, marketing director at Daisy Mae's Market.

As a result, Cooper says that the program now brings custom, grocery list-type orders to office workers downtown who want to bring fresh produce home with them and not have to worry about making an additional trip on their way home.  She says that it's all part of their effort to make getting fresh, healthy produce as easy as possible and promoting Findlay Market as a central point for doing so.

"Whatever we're doing, whether it's Healthy Breaks, produce deliveries, or quick-pick produce where you can drive by and pick up your order on Race Street, we're doing it to promote Findlay Market," explained Cooper.  "Findlay Market's historical importance is a critical element of the urban core and we need to do everything to preserve that."

Those who do not take advantage of Daisy Mae's Healthy Breaks program can still have fresh produce delivered to their address as long as it is within the 45202 zip code.  Cooper says that those orders must be at least $15, but that they will deliver the order the next day.

Those interested can place an order online, call (513) 602-5601, or email their order to daisymae@daisymaesmarket.com.  The produce offerings will change on a weekly basis so stay tuned to Daisy Mae's website.  Once the order is placed, Daisy Mae's will then respond with a price and a tentative delivery time.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Image Provided
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy

New report discovers faster initial travel times for Ohio's 3C Rail system

A new report released by the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) shows that initial speeds for the proposed 3C Rail Corridor could be faster than first thought.  The ORDC worked with Woodside, an industry leading railroad modeling firm, to produce the report and find new travel efficiencies.

The report included a draft schedule that showed passenger trains traveling the corridor's entire length, 259 miles, in just over five hours.  The five hour travel time equates to average speeds of 50 miles-per-hour.

According to Amtrak, the initial travel speeds are some of the fastest of any recently developed system, and the third fastest since 1980.

"All statewide intercity rail systems in the United States were first introduced at lower speeds and evolved over time to higher speed service," explained Ken Prendergast, executive director of All Aboard Ohio.

Trips between Columbus and Cleveland are projected to be even faster and boast average speeds close to 60mph.  This would result in a two hour and twenty minute trip from downtown Columbus to downtown Cleveland - about the same as driving an automobile.

Project officials say that negotiations with the freight railroads are ongoing and could result in even faster speeds.  For now though, Ohioans should expect a system that has top speeds of 79mph and average speeds between 50 and 60mph.

Cincinnati's service would include three daily trains.  Based on service to a proposed Lunken Airport-area station, northbound departures would leave at 6:30am, 12:30pm, and 4pm.  Southbound arrivals would roll into town at 12:01pm, 6:01pm, and 9:31pm.

The 3C Rail Corridor is part of a larger Midwest regional rail plan that connects most major cities throughout the mega-region with one another.  Officials say that the $400 million 3C Corridor could be operational as early as 2012 and create more than 8,000 jobs.

Stay connected to ongoing progress and news on Ohio's 3C Rail Corridor by becoming a fan on Facebook.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Image Provided
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy

Taqueria Mercado grows downtown location

Luis Leon grew up in Chicago and lived there with his family for twenty-five years. Luis says, "My father worked in a factory and my mother was a secretary. They were good years, but my mother wanted something else, she had a dream. She wanted to own a restaurant."

So when the family left Chicago and moved to Cincinnati they opened Cancun Mexican Restaurant. A year and half later, the Leon's opened the first of three restaurants bearing the name Taqueria Mercado. The first was in Fairfield, just east of Jungle Jims. The second opened about a year and a half later in Erlanger. That store eventually closed and relocated to its present location in Florence. And then, earlier this year, Leon's family opened the third Taqueria Mercado at 100 E. Eighth Street in the space formerly occupied by Javier's Mexican restaurant.

Asked if he was worried about opening a Mexican Restaurant in a space where another had just failed, Luis smiles and says, "No, not at all."  He then explains, "Many of our customers in Fairfield were from Downtown and they would ask us, all the time, to open a store downtown, so I knew if we opened it people would come."

The restaurant serves as a welcome addition to the downtown dining community. To mollify long time fans of the Fairfield restaurant, and to ensure continuity, Leon brought Alfredo - his favorite cook - with him from Fairfield. Which is not to say that all three stores will be identical.

Taqueria Mercado Downtown will soon offer amenities beyond those at the Florence or Fairfield locations. For instance, Luis has hired long time music promoter Jody Steiner (who held similar responsibilities at The Madison and Stanley's) to book music.

Steiner says live music will start the weekend of October 15 and will eventually feature a myriad of musical styles including Latin, Rock and Roots. Prior to that, physical improvements- including the hanging of acoustic panels- will be undertaken to ensure a pleasant listening environment. 

For Luis and Steiner, both of whom live downtown, the Eighth Street location represents an opportunity to do something special for the ever growing downtown population. As a result, the Downtown restaurant will also be open extended hours, till 11:00 weekdays, 1 am on the weekend, and offer an extended happy hour (11am to 9pm).

Writer: Michael Kearns
Photography by Michael Kearns

District 'A' festival highlights arts district in two neighborhoods

The District A Festival is a day of art, dance, music and food in Kennedy Heights and Pleasant Ridge that highlights those communities' efforts to band together and brand themselves as a destination arts district.

"We are doing a progressive party building on our arts assets, moving from Kennedy Heights in the morning to Pleasant Ridge in the afternoon," District A's board chair Maria Kreppel said. "Then we're having a community art party in the middle."

Kreppel said the festival, this Saturday, mimics a typical Saturday in "District A" where Kennedy Heights' arts organizations offer programming in the morning and restaurants and shops are open in Pleasant Ridge during the afternoon and evening.

At this year's festival, dance classes and art demonstrations begin the day at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center and Arts Innovation Movement (AIM) Cincinnati (formerly Ballet tech.) During the course of the day artists from the neighborhood (of which there are many) will sell works along Montgomery Road while art activities and a book sale will be offered at the Pleasant Ridge Library. Also, AIM will present a dress rehearsal preview of TwiNight, a dance performance premiering next Friday at the Aronoff. The event ends with indoor/outdoor concerts and dinner at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pleasant Ridge. 

A non-profit, all-volunteer organization, District A grew out of a years-old effort in the two neighborhoods to keep their business districts vital despite businesses moving out. 

An arts renaissance in Kennedy Heights was sparked five years ago when community members turned vacant buildings into "arts anchors" like the Kennedy Heights Arts Center and later Ballet Tech Cincinnati (now AIM) and the Green Corner and Giving Garden - a market and garden.

Pleasant Ridge, a district with restaurants, bars and shops, joined the effort when its community councils joined with Kennedy Heights' to establish the "Montgomery Road Arts Collaboration." It became "District A" in 2008 with assistance from design agency LPK. Kreppel said the name reflects the effort to be "not your typical arts district." The organization currently works to foster communication between artists, businesses, building owners and neighbors to promote community and economic growth, Kreppel said.

District A recently helped Pleasant Perk, a coffee shop, through a change in ownership. They have also placed artwork by local artists in vacant commercial spaces at the corner of Montgomery and Ridge roads. Plans for the next big "arts anchor" in Kennedy Heights - the conversion of an abandoned Kroger's supermarket into the Kennedy Heights Cultural Center - will be unveiled at the event.

Information on the festival, including times, can be found here. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Writer: Henry Sweets
Photography by Henry Sweets

Cincinnati's bikers, scooterists will get more city parking free of charge

The City of Cincinnati took a big step last week to help out the two-wheeled motorists traveling in its borders.

They voted to set aside funding to maintain, improve and expand a free parking program for motorcycles and mopeds in Cincinnati. The next two spaces will be built in Clifton; one on McMIllan and one on Calhoun streets, in the next two months.

A pilot project begun in 2009 provided a few parking spaces for motorcycles and mopeds downtown, mostly near Fountain Square. The spaces were striped for three or five bikes at time but motorists quickly maximized the use of that space, packing in as many as 10 and sometimes overflowing onto the sidewalks or adjacent spaces.

"Basically every spot was having twice as many vehicles parked in it as we anticipated," Melissa McVay, a planner in the Transportation and Engineering department who works on the project, said.

The overwhelming response encouraged the department to expand the project, and propose two-wheeled parking fees to fund construction of new spaces. The council was adamant that the spaces remain free, McVay said, and they opened access to another funding source last week.

The new corral-type spaces will allow motorists to "self-regulate" the layout of their bikes in the most efficient way possible within a painted border, she said.

"Riders are very respectful towards each other," McVay said. "They pack them in as closely as they can."

The city's director of transportation and engineering, Michael Moore, said his department plans to install motorcycle and motor scooter parking spaces downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods as new streetscape and sidewalk improvement work allows.

Three more spots were planned during the pilot phase, but the city will contact two-wheeler communities to see if they still consider the new locations to be ideal before they are constructed, McVay said. One is slated for Central Parkway near the Coffee Emporium, a second on Main Street behind the Aronoff, and a third near the intersection of McFarland and Elm Streets.

McVay said the project was begun because riders are not allowed in most parking garages downtown. She said she thought the program has already encouraged people to choose their two-wheeled mode of transit over their car.

A map of current locations can be found here - anyone interested in suggesting locations for new spots, or providing feedback on the three mentioned above is encouraged to email twowheeler@cincinnati-oh.gov.

Writer: Henry Sweets
Photography by Scott Beseler

Park + Vine partners with Building Value in move to new space

Cincinnati's premiere green general store, Park + Vine, is moving from their location at 1109 Vine Street to a new location at 1202 Main Street in the historic Belmain building. The new space will be more than twice the square footage of the previous store, totaling 2,563 square feet.

The new location will include a concrete bar serving La Terza coffee, fresh squeezed juices and grab-and-go food items with products from local healthy food producers including Fabulous Ferments, Picnic & Pantry, Lucky John Market and Five Star Foodies. Seating will be available for customers to gather with views of Main Street to enjoy refreshments and create community conversation.

"People want to hang out with us and the previous space wasn't designed that way," says owner Dan Korman. "We survey our customers every January and the majority said they would like a drink bar."

To stay true to their green roots, Park + Vine has organized two people-powered brigades with dollies and bicycles to transport the merchandise and goods from the old store to the new one without using gas-powered vehicles.

Korman is also lobbying to have standard bike racks installed on the sidewalk in front of the store and for a bicycle corral to be placed in a metered car parking spot to accommodate cyclists and scooters. There are currently hoops for locking up bikes on the parking meters.

Park + Vine hired Building Value and it's subsidiary Building Ability, which empowers people with disabilities by providing the opportunity to work and have greater independence, to create three shelving units for the new store out of repurposed materials. One wall will feature a display made of reclaimed furniture, virtually cut and repurposed as a piece of functional art and shelving. Korman was interested with working with the non-profit because of the green products they were creating and repurposing.

Half of the new one-stop green spot will offer food-related items; the previous store's footprint only offered ten percent of space for food and pantry items. There will be a bulk food station and cleaning supplies, as well as a private room for community lectures and a small deck in the back for customers to enjoy.

"We felt so confined in our old location. This gives us an opportunity to play with the space a lot more. I've felt settled so well be here a long time. Everyone seems excited about it, although some are sentimental about the old space. Other stores, as well as restaurants and bars, can more easily open around us now." says Korman. "Main Street is just as much of a community as Vine Street, which was just getting started a few years ago," says Korman.

The store hours will increase after the move. With the new space holding their soft opening on Friday, October 1, the store will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Want to join the dolly brigade and help Park + Vine's eco-friendly move this week?  Those interested should email lisa@cincyroots.com before Tuesday Sept 28. Only patrons 18 and older can help out; free food and beverages will be provided.

Writer: Rene Brunelle
Photography by Scott Beseler.

Local leaders to discuss downtown Cincinnati's ongoing renaissance at round table event

Those who are familiar with Cincinnati's urban core know that something special has been taking place over the past five years. 

Hundreds of new residents and dozens of new businesses are now occupying previously vacant historic structures in Over-the-Rhine, the region's tallest skyscraper is nearing completion on Third Street in Downtown, a new neighborhood and massive park are rising along the central riverfront, an urban casino is nearing commencement at the long underutilized Broadway Commons site, a renovated Fountain Square has injected new life into downtown, Washington Park and its environs are experiencing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment, and crime has decreased year-after-year in both Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

"It's amazing how many people are coming to Findlay Market who have recently moved here," exclaimed Barb Cooper, marketing director of Daisy Mae's Market which opened at Findlay Market last November.  "What's been really special is the number of international customers that are coming here because of the markets they are used to shopping at in Europe or elsewhere overseas."

To discuss this dramatic transformation, and what is in store for the future, the University of Cincinnati Real Estate Center & Program along with the Urban Land Institute will host Cincinnati Urban Renaissance: 2013 and Beyond this Friday, October 1st.

City Manger Milton Dohoney will serve as the keynote speaker, and the event will include two panel discussions.  The first of which will cover Urban Renaissance Projects and include Stephen Leeper from 3CDC, Jeanne Schroer from the Catalytic Development Funding Corporation of Northern Kentucky, Fred Craig from Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Willie F. Carden, Jr. from the Cincinnati Park Board.

The second panel will discuss the Impact of Renaissance Projects and will include Lydia Jacobs-Horton from Procter & Gamble, Ellen van der Horst from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Neil/Arn Bortz from Towne Properties, and Dan Lincoln from the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Cincinnati Urban Renaissance: 2013 and Beyond will take place from 7:30am to 11am at the Westin Hotel Ballroom (map) on Friday, October 1.  Reservations can be made online or by contacting Kate Bridgman at (513) 556-7082 or real.estate@uc.edu.  The event is free for members of the UC Roundtable and ULI, and costs $100 for non-members.  Event organizers also note that those interested in attending who are part of the real estate community in Ohio and Kentucky can count the event towards three hours of continuing education.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
Milton Dohoney pictured
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy

Cincinnati officials looking to win big in second round of TIGER grants

Cincinnati officials have submitted a $35 million application for funds from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II program, but they're not alone in their aspirations.  Approximately 1,000 applications were submitted for consideration totaling more than $19 billion in requests - a number far exceeding the $600 million available through the program.

"The wave of applications for both TIGER II and TIGER I dollars shows the back-log of needed infrastructure improvements and the desire for more flexible funds," U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a prepared statement.  "This also shows the opportunities still before us to create jobs, to reduce congestion, make wise environmental choices and help generate lasting economic growth."

In February 2010 Cincinnati officials learned that the streetcar project had been passed over in the first round of TIGER funding which distributed $1.5 billion to 51 projects nationwide.  At that time officials attributed the loss to the highly competitive nature of the program, but were encouraged by the positive feedback they received from the DOT.

Outside of one-time grant allocations like TIGER the program, most transportation funds are allocated on a user fee system.  And with the competition for transportation funding is so great that some have questioned the foundation for which the allocation of those limited funds is based.

"The fundamental problem with the user fee is that it fails to reflect the fact that everyone - user or not - benefits from the transportation system," explained Yonah Freemark, journalist at Next American City and The Transport Politic.  "While there are some good reasons to maintain the user fee, increases in spending could come from the expansion of the general fund commitment to transportation."

Cincinnati's current $35 million request would close the remaining $12 million gap and potentially reduce the amount of local bonds needed for the $128 million streetcar project.  Should the project receive the full $35 million, the modern streetcar project could potentially also see an expanded scope from its current Downtown/Over-the-Rhine loop and connection to Uptown.

"The streetcar project speaks directly to a number of the priorities that have been identified recently by the U.S. DOT," said Chris Eilerman with the City's Department of Transportation & Engineering.  "The streetcar specifically speaks to the livability principles of providing more transportation choices and improving the economic competitiveness of neighborhoods, sustainability, walkability, and creating vibrant, urban neighborhoods.  This is why we believe that this is a transformative project that will compliment the growth that Cincinnati is experiencing now."

Cincinnati's official request was submitted by the Ohio DOT as one of their priority projects.  The State of Ohio previously awarded the Cincinnati Streetcar project $15 million through its Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC).

According to the U.S. DOT, grants awarded through TIGER II will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects using a half-dozen criteria that include environmental, transportation, economic, and livability factors.  Those projects that are able to create and preserve jobs quickly will also be given priority.  Officials expect to hear back about projects winning TIGER II funds later this fall.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Image Provided
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy

Sweat Training to open urban loft-style fitness studio in downtown Cincinnati

A new gym will open in downtown Cincinnati on Monday, October 4 along 7th Street in the former Provident Camera Building.  Sweat Training will be relocating from its Pleasant Ridge location to Downtown to take advantage of a growing number of urban professionals in Cincinnati's center city.

"The vibe of the gym is so important...it should make you feel out of your element while also making you want to train there," said Danielle Korb, Owner & Fitness Professional, Sweat Training.  "The big windows and openess really give the space an urban loft feel that is inspiring."

The 2,700-square-foot space is located on the fourth floor of the historic eight-floor building.  Korb says that she signed a two-year lease after looking at roughly 20 other locations throughout the center city and nearby neighborhoods.  Korb also says that she has the option to not only extend that lease, but expand the space onto the next floor if needed.

The new gym will reportedly boast tons of equipment, a 73-foot turf runway, and offer high-intensity resistance training led by Korb.  Sweat Training will be following a model of urban fitness establishments that have become popular in New York and Los Angeles which focus on more intimate settings that tie into an urban lifestyle.

"This location allows me to tap into Cincinnati's urban professionals who work hard, train hard, and like to socialize in the city," Korb explained.  "That is what Downtown is all about, and as a Downtown resident, I will be able to walk to work everyday."

The new location will also include a large Cincinnati-inspired wall mural, done by Higher Level Art, that fits the "Sweat and the City" ethos of Sweat Training.

Once open, the 18 W. 7th Street location will be open from approximately 6am to 12pm Monday through Saturday, and 3pm to 8pm Monday through Thursdays.  Korb says that outside of boot camps scheduled for 6am Monday through Friday and 9:30am on Saturdays, all other trainings can be made by appointment by contacting DanielleKorb@SweatTraining.com.

Those who would like to learn more about Sweat Training can celebrate the opening of the new location on Saturday, November 13 at the gym's official launch party that will include food from the popular Cooking with Caitlin.  Stay tuned for more details about the launch party by following Sweat Training on Twitter @SweatTraining or by becoming Danielle Korb's friend on Facebook.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
Work in progress wall mural by Higher Level Art
Danielle Korb

Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy

Terry's Turf Club to expand

The new neon sign in front of the old yellow house next door might have passers by wondering if the newly famous burger bar will be opening a hot dog haven to complement the current restaurant. Not the case. Terry's Turf Club owner Terry Carter says the house will be down within the next week and an expansion of the restaurant will be complete by next spring.

Plans to further develop the space had been in the works before they were featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives" which Carter says increased revenue by around twenty to thirty percent; they serve around 400 guests a night. They are currently meeting with the architects and moving forward with zoning and permits. "We'll have the same motif. It's a honky tonk but it works with the mix of being casually elegant. This is a joint," says Carter.

The new space will double the restaurant's size to become roughly 1,000 square feet including 22 more feet of bar space and seating for 40 more guests. The kitchen will be expanded with new grills and fryers. A large outdoor terrace will be also be added with garage-style doors.

Terry will be bringing in 100 more signs from his neon collection, including more of the bottle-shaped Bevador coolers that stopped production in 1955 but "work wonderfully," shoe-shaped carnival ride cars and Crack the Whip seats. "Grown ups love it more than the kids. You'll be able to sit in them and have dinner in a little shoe," says Carter.

He claims he only works fifteen hours a day, seven days a week so that he can travel the world and fish in Belize and Africa four times a year. His travels inspire new creative menu items that appear every two to three months. New menu items will also be added with the expansion, including numerous items that the restaurant will be the first in the United States to use including Baobab tree fruit from Africa (a thickening agent that helps natives make a living by using the fruit rather than letting it fall and rot). He's also bringing in moose milk cheese from Sweden that sells for $500 a pound and French snail caviar that retails for $225 a tin. But these delicacies won't cost the customer. Terry understands he has people who want foie gras and people who want American cheese on an all-American style burger.

"Innovation is what we do, in a nutshell. We don't skimp. If it costs I don't care. I want the best product out there and I can't please everyone out there. Most of everything I have doesn't come out of a can- all herbs are fresh and top of the line. The chili is made with filet mignon and it's one of my best sellers," explains Carter.

"My business has grown to the point where it's almost unsellable because it's too good, which is a good problem to have," says Carter. "I'd be a fool to sell it."

Terry's Turf Club will stay open during renovations although it will be untidy for a few days.

Terry's is located at 4618 Eastern Ave and is open Monday through Thursday, 4:00 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Kitchen closes at 12:30; Saturday, 12:00 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Kitchen closes at 1:30. Sunday, 12:00 p.m.-1-:00 p.m. Kitchen closes at 9:00 p.m. 

Writer: Rene Brunelle
Photography by Scott Beseler

Pinky Sue's Smoke House opens in downtown Newport

James Remley and Shawn Flynn met while working at a factory more than 15 years ago.  Now the friends have embarked on a new restaurant venture they hope will take them into the next phase of their professional lives.

The new restaurant is Pinky Sue's Smoke House which they opened at 527 York Street in downtown Newport.  Since opening Remley says that their lunches have been exceptionally busy and that they are now considering adding breakfast hours with an expanded menu.

"We decided we wanted to give this a shot to see if it might work out, and we're really hoping it will last," Remley explained.

The long-time friends are both Northern Kentucky residents and Remley says that they stumbled upon the space, formerly occupied by NuVo and Mokka, when driving past one day.  After finding out that the lease financially worked for them, they moved forward with this central location.

Pinky Sue's Smoke House, named for the partners' respective wives, seats about 40 people inside with room for another 20 to 30 people outside on their patio.  Remley says that first-time customers should try the ribs, but that many people have been going after the slow-smoked pulled pork which can be ordered in a sandwich deal for around $6.

The restaurant also offers a variety of other menu items like briskets, chicken, and a bevvy of side dishes including broccoli salad, baked beans, homemade potato salad, french fries and more.

The restaurant is currently open 11:30am to 8pm Monday through Thursday, and 11:30am to 9pm Friday through Sunday.  Dine in and carryout are available, and Remley says that catering orders can also be placed by calling (859) 491-9700 or fax at (859) 491-9888.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy

$8.3M Saengerhalle development to spark Race Street transformation through OTR

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) has focused their attention along Vine Street and parts of Main Street through Over-the-Rhine for the better part of the last five years.  Their goals have been to target some of the most troubled areas of the neighborhood and turn them around.  Now, the development corporation has shifted its focus west to Race Street and will move its offices into a new $8.3 million project taking shape along Race Street just north of Washington Park.

The Saengerhalle development, named for the "Saenger Halle" music venue that preceded Music Hall, is to 14th and Race streets as the Duncanson Lofts development was to 12th and Vine streets years ago.  Following the completion of Duncanson, a handful of projects immediately followed suit which have led to hundreds of new residents, dozens of new businesses, dramatic declines in criminal activity, and a heartbeat to a part of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood which has not been felt in a generation.

3CDC has tapped NorthPointe Group to oversee the redevelopment project that will introduce more than 32,000 square feet of office space to the neighborhood by spring 2011.  But like Duncanson, once Saengerhalle is complete, several other projects will fall in line.  Four such projects will create even more residential units and retail space, redevelop and expand the historic Washington Park, redevelop a historic church, and introduce a new underground parking garage underneath the northern most section of the park.

"We wanted to bring business into the area and make the area vibrant during the day outside of the park," said Christy Samad, Communications Assistant, 3CDC.  "The Saengerhalle project is in the heart of the redevelopment taking place in the area and it will be great to be there with the merchants and new Washington Park."

3CDC plans to relocate their offices to the street-level office space in the redeveloped structures along with NorthPointe Group.

"We're hoping that the first premier commercial space in this part of the neighborhood will serve as a catalyst for other investment nearby," Samad explained.  "We're taking the first-floor space so that the two upper floors are preserved for tenants looking to take advantage of the great views of Washington Park."

While 3CDC will be occupying approximately one-third of the total commercial space, there will also be room for a restaurant at the corner of 14th and Race that will include outdoor seating.

According to 3CDC officials, the $8.3 million project was funded through an innovative partnership with Fifth Third Bank that helped secure $4.2 million in tax credits and $4.1 million from the Cincinnati Equity Fund.

"We believe in the renaissance taking place in our urban core.  The positive results are evident," said Catherine Cawthon, president of Fifth Third Bank Community Development Corporation.  "People are coming back to the central business district and Over-the-Rhine for entertainment, to buy homes and to start businesses.  Along with construction jobs, the Saengerhalle project is projected to bring at least 100 permanent jobs to Over-the-Rhine, and we're proud to offer our support."

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Rendering Provided
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy

$440k first-phase of Clifton Heights streetscaping project nears completion

Significant progress has been made on the first-phase of streetscaping improvements throughout the Clifton Heights business district. Over the past two months work has been taking place along W. McMillan Street to rebuild sidewalks, crosswalks, curbs, replant street trees, and install new street lamps. The roughly half-million dollar project will also include new parking meters, trash cans, and decorative brick pavers.

This stretch of W. McMillan Street had long been plagued by buckled sidewalks due to root invasion from the street trees and water that subsequently collected. The rebuilt sidewalks not only feature safe and pleasant surfaces for pedestrians, but they also feature uniquely designed brick work at cross walk locations.

The improvement work has been championed by area businesses and the Clifton Heights Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC) whose director, Matt Bourgeois, said that "the business community is very excited about the progress being made."  While the work has posed a minor inconvenience for businesses, the consensus seems to be that it is worth the trouble.

"The business district fought long and hard to get the city funds for the project so we're very excited about the improvements and we think it's a great thing," said McNeil Ryan, owner of the popular Mac's Pizza Pub.  "It's a very short-term pain for a very long-term gain, and we were very fortunate they were able to schedule the majority of the work during the summer."

Some of the business district's progress that has been prior to the streetscaping work has been quite noticeable and includes several facade improvement projects; business expansions and renovations by DuBois Bookstore, Plaza Artist Materials, and Mac's Pizza Pub; and the addition of several new businesses to the district.

The first phase of streetscaping improvements, nearing their expected completion in October 2010, were funded through the Cincinnati Neighborhood Business Districts United (CNBDU) and the City of Cincinnati. The later two phases will continue the streetscaping work throughout the district over the next two years depending on funding.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Jake Mecklenborg
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy

'Play Me I'm Yours' pianos find second homes

If they didn't spend too much time in the rain over the last six weeks, the pianos from the Play Me I'm Yours public art project will be put to good use.

Of the 35 pianos used for the project, about 15 have already found a second home at schools, arts centers and other organizations around Cincinnati. They will be used for educational and community arts-oriented programs, Cincinnati Public Radio's vice president for Marketing Chris Phelps said.

The remainder of the pianos were collected this weekend and their condition will be assessed to see if they are still in usable shape.

"Some of them had better cover than others," Phelps said. "The two that were on Fountain Square were there for six weeks and they're in bad shape right now, but other pianos were on a porch or sheltered a little bit more and those are the ones that still can be used."

All eight of the arts centers that received pianos will keep them to be used in educational programs, or to remain a permanent public art fixture.

Chatfield College's Findlay Market campus, which recently doubled its enrollment, added a vocal music class after the expansion. They couldn't afford a piano, and students were singing along to a small CD player.  Now their students, ranging in age from 20 to 50, will have musical accompaniment to their singing.

"The students are very excited because they've never been exposed to anything like that," social outreach and special events coordinator Britney Grimmelsman said.

Chatfield College offers two year associates degrees at one campus in Findlay market and another in Brown County. Many of their students are single moms or low-income residents of Over-the-Rhine.

The Drake Rehabilitation Center has received another piano, as well as the Oyler School in Lower Price Hill, one of many elementary schools who have struggled to provide arts and music education in the midst of funding cuts.

The Madisonville Arts Center, the Kennedy Heights Arts Center, the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, the Fitton Center for the Arts, the Oxford Community Arts Center, the Sharonville Arts Center and The Wyoming Arts Center all hosted pianos during the project, and will keep them as well.

Writer: Henry Sweets
Photography by Scott Beseler.

Developers get started on $50M Incline Square project in East Price Hill

Developers have been working since 2005 to make the proposed $50 million Incline Square development a reality.  Over those five years developers have scaled back plans, modifying the phasing of the proposed development, and even adjusting specific elements of the project.  But as the economy slowly recovers, the development team believes that now is the time to move forward.

To commemorate that news, the development team celebrated an official ground breaking for the project on Monday, September 13 at the nearly eight-acre project site in East Price Hill.  One of the primary members of the team is former Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley who believes that this success will breed success for future phases of the development.

"The $50 million project will be a long-term endeavor over the next decade, but we hope that momentum of the new restaurant and office building will help drive demand," Cranley explained.

Cranley described the initial $3 million work, that will include a restaurant with biergarten and 15 apartments ranging from $900-1,000 per month, as phase 1a.  The hope is to begin work on phase 1b - a development that includes at least 20,000 square feet of medical office space - by late 2011.  Once the two-part phase 1 effort concludes, Cranley expects there to be another medical office building and additional restaurant and retail space in later phases.

According to Cranley, the extended nature of the project can be explained by a variety of economic realities the project has faced including an ongoing lawsuit between the Greater Cincinnati Associated Physicians (GCAP) and the Health Alliance.

Even with the challenges, developers believe that the progress being made now is not only encouraging for Cincinnati, but specifically for the Price Hill community which doesn't ordinarily see this kind of investment.

"It's been a very, very challenging environment to say the least," said Cranley.  "But for us to be able to get a project done in Price Hill is very encouraging given that most people thought we would never get it done."

Cranley went on to speak to the project's viability by saying that this area of East Price Hill is facing the same challenges that Mt. Adams, Covington, and Newport have faced over the past 20 to 30 years, and that the views and close proximity to downtown are "very underutilized" at this point.

"Price Hill has astounding parks like Dunham and Mt. Echo, great proximity to downtown, unbelievable architecture, and a really great size and affordability of homes.  We need to keep anchors like Price Hill Chili, Elder and Seton high schools, and Kroger in the neighborhood while establishing new anchors like Incline Square.  East Price Hill today has more potential and signs of improvement than it has in 30 years thanks to the trend towards urban living."

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Rendering Provided
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy
1922 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts